Tag Archives: Never Say Spy series

I Blame The Cucumber

Every now and then my brain gets stuck in a thought-groove.  For example, the other day I reached into our fridge and grabbed a cucumber…

Before I go any farther, I just want to point out that this post is entirely the cucumber’s fault.

Cucumbers bring out the worst in me; especially Long English cucumbers.  I can’t even buy them in the grocery store without smirking.  There’s something about publicly sorting through a big pile of phallic objects that just tickles my funnybone.  Should I get the ridiculously-long-but-skinny one or the one with average length but jaw-dropping girth?  Will the checkout cashier judge me by my choice?

If I think about it too much, I can’t repress my smile; which only escalates the situation.  ’Cause the only thing worse than publicly sorting through a big pile of phallic objects is doing it while wearing a guilty grin.  When I catch myself furtively glancing around to see if anyone’s watching, I know it’s time to just grab the first available cucumber and get the hell out of the produce department.

(I’d also like to note that I’ve never seen a man buy a Long English cucumber.  Not once.  Talk about intimidation.)

But I digress, as usual.

So, anyway… I reached into our refrigerator and grabbed a cucumber, and it squished.  Eeuw!

Quoth I to Hubby, as I disposed of the slimy remains:  “Liquidity:  A good thing for investments; not so good for cucumbers.”

Then my brain wouldn’t let it go.  It turns out there are a lot of words that rhyme with ‘liquidity’, and most of them have good and bad connotations.  Such as…

Frigidity:  Good for popsicles; bad for bedmates.

Rapidity:  Great for cheques arriving in the mail; not great for bills arriving in the mail.

Solidity:  Good for chocolate bunnies; bad for ghosts.

Aridity:  Nice for armpits; not-so-nice for climates.

Rigidity:  Bad in attitudes, but great in a… *ahem* …tool. (Would you believe I was talking about the Ridgid brand name?  No?  Okay, fine; you got me. *snickers*)

Flaccidity and tumidity:  Not even going there.

Stupidity: Just never good.

I had more, but I decided not to belabor the point.  (You’re welcome.)

But speaking of belaboring the point:  Many thanks to everyone who weighed in on my proposed cover design last week!  The majority indicated that the original covers were better, although some people said it might be interesting to see a design that used some elements of both.  So here’s my next attempt:

And then (because I can’t leave well enough alone), I also did a version with the photo clipped into a “Top Secret” file folder.

Here it is in blue/green just for variety (because if I go with the bright design, each book’s cover will be a different colour under the yellow titles):

Or… here’s the original cover with an updated font and series number:

Or am I over-thinking the whole thing?  Here’s the original cover:

Please click on the one-question survey below for a quick vote:

And as always, if you have comments I’d love to hear them.  Thanks for helping to preserve my tiny fraction of remaining sanity!

P.S. None of this craziness is my fault — the cucumber made me do it!  😉

 

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Filed under Humour, Life

The Smarter I Think I Am…

One of the blessings/curses of being a fiction writer is that I spend a lot of time surfing the internet for my research.  (Other people waste time on the internet, but I’m doing research.  Honest.)

I’ve gone down all sorts of rabbit holes, but it really messed with my mind the day I discovered illusory superiority and the Dunning-Kruger Effect.  Dunning and Kruger’s tests showed that the less competent a person is in any given field, the more likely they are to think they’re an expert.

Yep, the dumber we are, the smarter we think we are.  (Which explains why 90% of drivers think they’re better than average.  You math majors, stop giggling.)

When I first read about that study, I had an ‘Aha!’ moment:  At last I understand why there are so many idiots out there who think they know everything.  It’s immensely annoying to those of us who do.

Oops…

Seriously, though, I know I’m not good at everything.  In fact, I know I suck resoundingly at a lot of things. But in the things I think I do well…

What if I’m just too stupid to know the difference?

Thanks for nothing, Dunning and Kruger. You’ve made me second-guess everything I once thought I knew.  And seeking constructive criticism won’t help:  Apparently there’s another cognitive bias that lets people believe only the parts of criticism that they want to hear, while disregarding the uncomfortable bits (i.e. the information that could actually help them improve).

So now that my brain has been twisted into a particularly unattractive macrame project, I’m really glad I live out in the country so I can wander around mumbling to myself without anybody calling the nut-catchers. (Fortunately Hubby is used to me mumbling to myself, so I’ve got a free pass there.)

Anyhow…

I have no illusions of superiority in the field of graphic design.  So I’m hoping that all you brilliant readers will help me: I’m thinking of updating the covers for the Never Say Spy series.

I still like the current covers, but the latest trends lean toward lots of colour and bold fonts. Also, the current covers don’t hint that there’s a sense of humour in the stories, and I’m wondering whether a different design might draw in readers who aren’t necessarily looking for a hardcore shoot-’em-up thriller.

Here are the original and proposed covers side by side — what do you think?

Please click on the poll below to vote.  The first five questions are for everyone, and the last question is only for people who have actually read the series.  And if you have any other comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them — please drop them in the comments section of this post.

Thank you so much for your help!  🙂

 

 

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When Neurons Misfire

So, the good news is that Book 14: “Friends In Spy Places” is finished and is now available for pre-order at all retailers, hooray! (Click here for retailer links.)

The bad news is that my brain has been sucked dry, wrung out, sent through a vigorous spin-cycle, and finally pinned onto a sagging clothesline in my cranium, where’s flapping uselessly in the breeze that’s whistling through my ears.

And it’s still in better shape than Hubby’s.

Unfortunately, that’s not a joke. He slipped and fell on some ice Sunday afternoon and is now the not-so-proud owner of a concussion, some bruises and sore muscles, and a nasty scalp laceration. Fortunately his CT scan was clear and he’ll be fine, but that little adventure wasn’t kind to his brain or mine.

Spending a tense 23 hours in the emergency room would have been enough excitement for  me, but I also volunteer as the webmaster for our local Rhododendron Society.  So on top of my usual post-book-release brain drain, ER stress, and sleep deprivation, I had a gruelling 4-hour meeting yesterday afternoon.  My poor little neurons aren’t even capable of firing anymore — at this point they’re only twitching feebly.

You’d think that might cause some creative (or at least unusual) thoughts, but the only thing that occurs to me is this:

There must have been a big sale on beans around here, because I’ve never before been subjected to so much of other people’s flatulence. The last four days have been a veritable fartnado.  My nose has been assailed at a lecture, at the hospital, in a grocery store lineup, you name it. It’s been so frequent that I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I’m actually the culprit and I’ve just been too distracted to notice that I’m doing the dastardly deed.

Also, I learned a new technical term this week.  I had attended a lecture on mosses which included a field trip at the park, and someone asked our expert about the finely-textured bright green stuff growing on the trees from about 18″ on down.  When he began, “We call that the ‘DPZ’”, we all leaned in to hear his explanation. “Yes,” he went on sagely. “That’s the Dog Pee Zone, and the green stuff is algae, not moss.”

So apparently toilet humour is the best I can do for this week. Maybe next week will be better…

*strums lips and rocks back and forth, humming quietly*

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Crap-Shooting

The other day I got a letter from my life insurance company, and the first sentence was a friendly “We hope you’re enjoying the benefits of your policy.”

I thought, “Oh, that’s nice…”

Then I realized that in order to ‘enjoy the benefits’ of a life insurance policy, I’d have to die.  Exactly what were they trying to say there?

I’m ambivalent about insurance anyway.  I’ve always considered myself an optimist, but buying insurance means I’m basically betting that something bad is going to happen to me.  The insurance companies (the true optimists, apparently) are betting that everything’s going to be fine.  This completely messes up my worldview.

I won’t get started about how insurance companies stubbornly pretend everything is still fine even after you submit a claim.  That’s a different rant, but I will say this:  If you want the most comprehensive list of weasel-words ever compiled, take a look at the wording of an insurance policy.

But I suppose policy wordings aren’t actually that much different than playing poker:  The rules are set out before the cards are dealt, and you can ante up if you want. I’d just feel better about the whole thing if it wasn’t my own wellbeing in the pot.

If I’d saved up all the money I’d spent (and will spend in the future) on insurance, I wouldn’t need the insurance.  But I don’t dare cancel it, because I haven’t saved up all that money.  And with Murphy and his Law breathing down my neck, I just know that if I cancelled, I’d somehow manage to launch my vehicle into the middle of our living room the very next day, destroying the car and house and leaving myself disabled with huge medical bills.  And I’d probably run over somebody in the process, so I’d get sued into the bargain.

Hmm.  Maybe I’m not as much of an optimist as I thought.

Anyhow, insurance might be a crapshoot, but here’s a sure thing:  We have a cover and release date for Book 14!

The big day is Wednesday, March 27, and pre-orders should be available by this weekend.  (If you’ve signed up for my New Book Notification list, you’ll get an email with all the purchasing links.)

Here’s the big reveal:

Secret agent Aydan Kelly’s supposedly-dead mother Nora has resurfaced after thirty years, and the chain of command assigns Aydan to investigate her for treason.  With only two weeks before Nora leaves the country under diplomatic immunity, Aydan struggles to piece together her mother’s questionable past.

Two days into Aydan’s investigation Nora announces she’s leaving early, and Aydan’s director gives her an ultimatum:  Solve the case before Nora escapes, or face imprisonment for dereliction of duty.  Meanwhile, an unknown enemy is stalking Aydan’s friends and the threats are escalating. 

When time runs out and prison walls loom, claustrophobic Aydan must make an unthinkable choice: Sacrifice her friends, or lose her freedom forever.

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It’s Done! (…Ish)

After a week of writing for 14 hours a day, I’ve finally finished the draft of Book 14, woohoo!  (I don’t intend to escalate to 15-hour days for Book 15, though.)

I’d love to say that Book 14 is “done”, but I still have a round of edits to do before I pass it over to my beta readers / editors / proofreaders, and I have yet to choose a title or create a cover or pick a release date.  Maybe in a month… ish…?

But still, the draft is out of my head, and that’s a good feeling!  (Some might argue that I have a permanent draft between my ears, but I prefer to ignore them.)

In fact, just about everything is out of my head at the moment — my brain is completely drained.  And we have houseguests this week, so instead of a post with actual words that make sense (or as much sense as I ever make), here are some photos of our garden.  Even though it’s only January, the plants seem to think spring is near.

So Book 14 is done-ish and it’s spring-ish outside.  Hooray for “almost-there”!

‘Zeta’ heather has been putting on a show since November, and the pansies and grape hyacinths will soon be blooming again.

 

This is ‘Eva Gold’ heather.

 

‘Tanya’ heather, plus one red anemone that’s FAR ahead of all the rest.

 

The flower garden is slowly starting to fill in. Maybe I should have bought bigger plants to start with…? 😉

 

The rhododendron buds are getting bigger by the day! This is ‘Kabarett’ – I’m looking forward to seeing its purple blooms for the first time this year.

 

The perennial alyssum has wee yellow buds starting, but it might be a while before it looks like the optimistic photo on the plant marker behind it.

 

Even the hydrangea thinks it’s spring – look at all the little green leaves-to-be!

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Good Spies Finish First!

The votes are in, and the title for Book 12 will be “Kiss And Say Good Spy”!  I’m pumped because that was the title I’d originally chosen for it (before I second-guessed myself).  I would have been happy with any of the other titles, too, but it’s cool to see I was on the right wavelength from the start.

Many thanks to everyone who voted in the poll!  Even if you didn’t vote for “Kiss And Say Good Spy”, your vote was still important – it helps me understand people’s preferences better for future books.  And I’m looking forward to lots of future books – I love writing!

I’m lucky enough to enjoy all parts of it, including the hours and hours of editing (yes, I know I’m a freak).  I also amuse myself by setting mini-challenges for each book:  “Can I include (fill in oddball item) in this book somehow?”

In Book 10 I challenged myself to include “ballistic rutabagas”, which became the name of an alternative music band.  In Book 11 the challenge was alien porn (kindly suggested by @SomeRandomGuy); and I’m proud to say I found a way to work it into the story.  Tastefully, of course.  *snickers*

But Book 12’s challenge, inspired by @SueSlaght’s blog post Short-Beaked Echidna Australia’s Fast Tongue, was a little trickier:  Include a short-beaked echidna, also known as a spiny anteater.  (For those unaware of the short-beaked echidna’s claim to fame:  It has a long, amazingly fast tongue and a four-headed penis.)

I had originally thought I might use an echidna as a villain’s pet, à la Ernst Blofeld in the James Bond classic “You Only Live Twice”.  That idea was shot down when I researched echidnas and discovered that they don’t make good pets because picking them up causes them intense stress and can injure them.

But my research also revealed that there are exceptions to that rule.  F’rinstance, there’s at least one short-beaked echidna that enjoys being picked up… in fact, he enjoys it a little too much.  He had to be retired from his career at a zoo because he kept getting a giant erection every time he was handled.

You can imagine where my mind went with that:  a villain’s pet that pops an enormous boner at inopportune moments.  I so, so wanted to write that!

But I didn’t.

See, I have a modicum of… well, I hesitate to go as far as to say ‘good taste’, so let’s just stick with ‘restraint’.

I did, however, manage to work the echidna into the story.  Challenge = Met!

So if you’re burning to know how a short-beaked echidna fits into a spy thriller:  The release date for “Kiss And Say Good Spy” is August 1, and preorders will be going live by the end of this week for the e-book versions (paperbacks will be released later).  If you’ve signed up for my New Book Notification list, you’ll get an email with links to the preorders as soon as they’re available.  I’ll also announce them on the Books page and my Facebook author page.

And…

I’m a little late with this since Canada’s 150th birthday was July 1, but one of my readers (Ethel: thank you) sent me this link and I thought everyone else might get a kick out of it, too.  It’s a music video created a few years ago by our favourite Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, and his brother Dave.  Welcome to Canada, eh?  🙂

Now… off to ponder Book 13’s challenge…

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Submariners And Sea Monsters, Oh My!

Moving to a new place always comes with a learning curve, so this week I thought I’d share some of the discoveries I’ve made since we arrived here on Vancouver Island.

For example, I’ve recently learned the correct Navy pronunciation for ‘submariner’.  I always thought it was ‘sub-ma-REEN-er’, but a true Navy man pronounces it ‘sub-MARE-in-er’.  (Coincidentally, I also learned some Navy slang for a gay man:  ‘diesel-driven turnip’.  Don’t look at me like that; I don’t have a clue how that expression came to be.  But it made me laugh.)

Speaking of the Navy, I haven’t met a ringer for Aydan’s Uncle Roger yet (in the Never Say Spy series, he was the favourite uncle who taught Aydan her best cusswords); but the other day a Hellhound lookalike roared past me on his Harley with his guitar strapped to his back; and I actually got to meet a real-life Dave Shore:

Paul was one of the truckers who delivered our shipping containers, and watching him finesse an 80’ tractor-trailer into our tiny driveway off our narrow road was education and entertainment combined.  I just stood there with my jaw dangling while he eased those big tires perilously close to the ditch, sometimes hovering a couple of trailer wheels over empty space.  Then he used a brilliant technique to squeeze into the driveway:  he locked up the trailer brakes while he continued to reverse the tractor, pivoting the 53’ trailer neatly around the 90-degree corner and into our yard.  Wow!

Talking to him was like gabbing with my fictional Dave:  He’s got 700,000 kilometres on his current rig, which is the third his current employer has issued him.  As he explained, “I keep miling them out.”  (Translation:  Driving so many miles that the truck has to be replaced, usually at 1,000,000 km.)  He’d rather sleep in his truck than in a hotel, and when asked about his retirement plans in a few years, he admitted, “I’m going to get an RV and drive around visiting my kids.  I just like to drive.”  It’s very cool to know there are real-life ‘Daves’ out there!

Marine life has been another novelty for me; some of it beautiful and fascinating…

Starfish come in an amazing variety of shapes and colours from white to orange/red to blue/purple, and they have the ability to go from soft to rigid in mere seconds if you touch them. (Guys, did you get that?)

Starfish come in an amazing variety of shapes and colours from white to orange/red to blue/purple, and they have the ability to go from soft to rigid in mere seconds if you touch them. (Guys, did you get that?)

…and some of it quite horrifying:

I have no idea what creature wore this head before I found it bobbing gently in the surf. It was nearly ten inches across and it looked like some hideous sea monster, although although it's probably a mundane fish to a true West-Coaster. But I’m going with ‘sea monster’.

I have no idea what creature wore this head before I found it bobbing gently in the surf. It was nearly ten inches across and it looked like some hideous sea monster, although it’s probably a mundane fish to a true West-Coaster. But I’m going with ‘sea monster’.

I’ve seen misty sunrises:

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Serene moonrises:

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Dramatic nighttime cloudscapes:

cloudy-moon

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Rainbows after a storm:

rainbow-wave

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And harbour seals playing.  (I was too far away so they only look like black blobs splashing around, but you get the idea): 

…And we’ve only been here a month.  I can hardly wait to see the strange and wonderful things the Island has left to show us!

But here’s the best photo yet:  They broke ground for our house on Monday!  Hooray!  (Speaking of finesse and expertise, Sam the excavator operator is an artist.  His touch with that bucket is so delicate and precise you forget that he’s moving literally tons of earth at mind-boggling speed.  Apparently he began operating a small excavator when he was 8 years old.)

It might not be as scenic as the rest of the photos, but this one makes me very happy!

It might not be as scenic as the rest of the photos, but this one makes me very happy!

What’s new in your world this week?  And… does anybody know what that sea-monster-critter actually is?  (Or, more accurately, ‘was’?)

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What’s Your Hippie Name?

This week’s post comes to you with many thanks to @glbryant, whom you will likely recognize as one of my dedicated commenters on this blog.

Last week he emailed me to say he was re-reading Book 10 in preparation for the release of Book 11, and he’d realized all over again how absolutely irritating one of the characters was. (Fortunately I had intended Tyler Brock to be annoying.)

For those who haven’t read the series, Brock could make a saint blaspheme, which led @glbryant to speculate that even Moonbeam (an earth mother from Book 9 who renames everyone with hippie-type handles) wouldn’t be able to tolerate him.

This quote from his email says it all:  “…if Brock had spent any time at the commune, his name would’ve been Astral Penis-Pox Douche-Weasel.

Which left me both inspired and rolling on the floor in tears of laughter.  Not only that, but it was remarkably prescient on his part, because both Moonbeam and Tyler Brock are in Book 11. (Unfortunately, Moonbeam doesn’t assign a hippie name to Brock.  Missed opportunities. *sigh*)

So, without further ado, I present the Earth Spirit’s Name Generators, one for the good guys and one for the bad guys.  Discover your hippie name below by looking up your initials in the tables, or feel free to make up one of your own.  Post your good-guy name below (and your bad-guy name if you dare).

Turns out my good-guy name is Starry Shining Poem (which is a little lame).  But I totally make up for it with my bad-guy name:  Deranged Zit-Nibbler.

(Note:  I swear I didn’t purposely assign words to the initials of people I know.  That would have required far more forethought and evil intent than I can muster.)

Good-Guy Hippie Name

 First Name  Middle Name   Last Name
 A – Astral  A – Misty  A – Dreamer
 B – Venus  B – Floating  B – Song
 C – Blessed  C – Flowing  C – Karma
 D – Starry  D – Singing  D – River
 E – Heavenly  E – Cloud  E – Stream
 F – Moonbeam  F – Shining  F – Dancer
 G – Cosmic  G – Desert  G – Whisper
 H – Aurora  H – Soaring  H – Poem
 I – Sage  I – Sky  I – Breeze
 J – Sunbeam  J – Earth  J – Heart
 K – Beloved  K – Soul  K – Journey
 L – Zen  L – Rainbow  L – Miracle
 M – Dharma  M – Star  M – Butterfly
 N – Infinite  N – Peace  N – Prophet
 O – Harmonious  O – Sparkling  O – Seeker
 P – Emerald  P – Crystal  P – Spirit
 Q – Summer  Q – Flower  Q – Nirvana
 R – Ambrosia  R – Blazing  R – Freedom
 S – Feather  S – Glowing  S – Universe
 T – Crimson  T – Daylight  T – Quest
 U – Sundance  U – Serene  U – Daydream
 V – Autumn  V – Secret  V – Hope
 W – Wind  W – Brilliant  W – Utopia
 X – Dusk  X – Sunray  X – Singer
 Y – Tranquil  Y – Truth  Y – Ocean
 Z – Azure  Z – Revelation  Z – Jewel

Bad-Guy Hippie Name
(Firstname with hyphenated Middlename-Lastname)

First Name Middle Name Last Name
 A – Sleazy  A – Douche  A – Groper
 B – Stoned  B – Pox  B – Gargler
 C – Creepy  C – Rat  C – Bucket
 D – Deranged  D – Toad  D – Humper
 E – Slimy  E – Spit  E – Fondler
 F – Easy  F – Zit  F – Waffle
 G – Wacko  G – Weasel  G – Blister
 H – Pantywaist  H – Poop  H – Nibbler
 I – Diseased  I – Dong  I – Gobbler
 J – Sucky  J – Scum  J – Juggler
 K – Nutjob  K – Booger  K – Poker
 L – Whiny  L – Pube  L – Chomper
 M – Brown-nosing  M – Donkey  M – Squeezer
 N – Snivelling  N – Wombat  N – Butt
 O – Obnoxious  O – Jizz  O – Guzzler
 P – Babbling  P – Vulture  P – Muffin
 Q – Wimpy  Q – Goblin  Q – Licker
 R – Lecherous  R – Monkey  R – Stroker
 S – Sick  S – Platypus  S – Whacker
 T – Twisted  T – Snot  T – Crumpet
 U – Skeezy  U – Puke  U – Banger
 V – Sketchy  V – Turd  V – Picker
 W – Wasted  W – Meat  W – Jiggler
 X – Bombastic  X – Pus  X – Sucker
 Y – Squirrelly  Y – Slime  Y – Dongle
 Z – Wanking  Z – Pecker  Z – Tickler

* * *

And in other news…

I’ll be updating my blog and website in the next few weeks, and since you’re the ones who have to look at it, I’d very much appreciate your input.  I’m just in the planning stages right now, but here are a few things I’m considering:

  • A larger font
  • More obvious menus to get to pages like Books and Guest Book
  • A link to Pinterest boards where we can all indulge our fantasies by selecting actors to play each of the characters
  • A techno-geek page on the inventions
  • A trivia page
  • A virtual book club where readers can discuss questions supplied by me and/or readers.

Any requests/suggestions/comments?

Also, since the virtual book club would require frequent contributions from readers in order to make it worthwhile for everyone, would you please vote in the poll to give me an idea of how much interest there is?  Thanks!

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…And That’s My Cover Story

Woohoo! The cover art and blurb for Book 11 are finished! As with any process where I’m involved, there have been some giggles along the way.

Rick Hand of Hand Crafted Images always makes it fun to shoot the cover photo, and luckily he’s got a great sense of humour. He needs it when he’s working with a so-called model like me.

I’ve mentioned my uncanny knack for twisting my face into the world’s goofiest expression at the precise moment the camera clicks. (At least I prefer to think I only look goofy for that instant. If it’s all the time, please don’t tell me – I prefer to cling to my illusions.)

But apparently I also have a gift for twisting my body into poses that make a photographer (and everybody else) go “WTF?!?”

For example, Rick was testing the lighting levels when I did this:

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking but apparently it was something like, “‘Scuse me while I stick this cardboard gun up my own ass. And if I place my left hand just so, it’ll look like a giant schlong hanging out the front of my jeans.

Yep, I’ve got a real gift for modelling.  It’s a lucky thing Rick’s good at arranging me because my sole talent is holding still once he’s got me in place.

Moving on to the title selection:

You probably already know that my geeky OCD personality requires spreadsheets for everything, including titles. I’ve itemized every word that rhymes with ‘spy’, along with a list of common phrases that include those words. So when it’s title time, I consider the themes in the book I’ve just written and try to match up a phrase that works.

But apparently there’s an easier way:  An app at portent.com generates titles automatically based on user-supplied keywords. So I entered ‘female spy’ and sat back to wait for the perfect title for Book 11.

Here are the contenders:

“How Female Spies Make You A Better Lover”: I do my best to make my sex scenes hot, but I didn’t realize I was providing such a valuable service to society. Go, me! *buffs fingernails against shirt and looks smug*

“Doing Female Spies The Right Way”: Is it me, or does Portent seem to have a one-track mind?

“True Facts About Justin Bieber’s Love For Female Spies”: Okay, now they’re just scaring me.

“The 12 Biggest Female Spies Blunders”: This one’s pretty appropriate since Aydan does tend to blunder into situations, but it’s not really the catchy title I had in mind.

“Why Female Spies Are The 51st Shade Of Grey”: Why Portent, you kinky thing! You’ve been peeking through my blinds again, haven’t you?

“Why Female Spies Are Scarier Than Dating Taylor Swift”: I’m not sure what level of fear we’re talking about here. It seems reasonable to be more afraid of female spies, but then again I don’t know Taylor Swift.

“Shocking Ways Female Spies Will Make You Better In Bed”: I’m sensing a theme here…

“How To Fight Lex Luthor Using Only Female Spies”: Superman, are you paying attention?

“How Female Spies Killed Kenny”: I’ve never watched an episode of South Park but apparently Kenny has died in all sorts of creative ways, so this seems plausible.

But I guess I’m just set in my ways. Despite the stellar appeal of Portent’s shortlist, I decided to stick with my spreadsheet even though one of the above titles could probably have made me famous. (Or infamous. It’s a fine line.) So voilà, Book 11:

Secret agent Aydan Kelly is hoping to resume her peaceful life as a bookkeeper, until her director issues an ultimatum: Go undercover as an arms dealer or go to jail for life. But when Aydan realizes her co-worker’s son has been taken by a serial killer, she defies orders in an attempt to save the child.

Neglecting her undercover assignment may cost more than just her freedom. When the gunrunner she’s been baiting threatens her loved ones, Aydan must choose between protecting them herself or entrusting their safety to geriatric amateur vigilantes while she closes in on the killer.

How much will she risk for a child who may already be dead?

* * *

The release date is March 18, 2016, and The Spies That Bind will be available for pre-order in about a week. If you’d like to receive an email notification when it’s available, please click here to sign up for my New Book Notification List.

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